The Manitou appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not bad, the image seemed mediocre.
Sharpness became an issue, as an awful lot of the film appeared soft and tentative. At best, delineation appeared reasonably positive, but this never became an especially well-defined presentation.
Neither jagged edges nor moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. In terms of print flaws, I saw occasional spots and specks throughout the film, though not to a dominant degree.
Colors veered toward the bland side of the street, as the movie’s earthy palette lacked much impact. The hues showed acceptable clarity but no better than that.
Blacks tended to seem somewhat inky, while shadows usually appeared a bit thick. This was a dated and dull presentation.
I didn’t experience anything much more impressive via the film’s mediocre DTS-HD MA stereo soundtrack, as it lacked punch. Speech seemed somewhat stiff, but the lines remained intelligible and lacked edginess.
Music showed acceptable definition, but the score lacked range and felt a bit dull. The same went for effects, as they remained accurate enough but they didn’t deliver much obvious impact.
In terms of imaging, music showed pretty good stereo spread, but effects didn’t provide especially accurate localization or movement. Though these elements broadened across the front, they lacked a convincing feel. Ultimately, this turned into a decent track.
The Blu-ray brings a few extras, and we open with an audio commentary from film historian Troy Howarth. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast/crew and related domains.
I’ve enjoyed prior Howarth commentaries and this becomes another good one. Howarth touches on a useful array of subjects, and he especially digs into comparisons between the novel and the film. Howarth proves bright and engaging during this strong discussion.
Two featurettes follow, and the first provides an interview with producer David Sheldon. In this 11-minute reel, Sheldon covers aspects of his career and his work with director William Girdler. We don’t learn much about Manitou but Girdler offers a decent overview of his time in films.
Next comes a 28-minute, 11-second interview with writer Graham Masterson. He chats about what led him to become a writer and his various efforts. Much of this follows the same path as Sheldon’s piece, but Masterson spends more time with Manitou itself, so this turns into a useful discussion.
In addition to a trailer and three TV spots, we finish with an Image Gallery. It shows 94 stills that mix shots from the movie and publicity elements. The Gallery brings a nice array of elements.
If anyone hopes to find a lost horror classic via 1978’s The Manitou, forget about it. The movie comes with some familiar faces but the ridiculous story and overly self-serious presentation make it a ludicrous dud. The Blu-ray comes with mediocre picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by a very good commentary. Manitou never gets off the ground.